Characteristics of injuries occurring during cross-country: A report from the athletic training practice-based research network

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: Cross-country is a popular sport activity, particularly in adolescent populations. Although epidemiologic investigations have provided insight into patient and injury characteristics associated with running injuries, little is known about how these injuries are managed at the point of care. Objective: To describe injury and treatment characteristics of injuries sustained during cross-country. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: High school athletic training clinics within the Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network. Patients or Other Participants: Patient cases were included if the patient was diagnosed with an injury that occurred during interscholastic cross-country participation. All patients received usual care by an athletic trainer. Main Outcome Measure(s): We used summary statistics to describe injury (sex, age, participation level, time of injury, mechanismof injury, body part, injury type, diagnosis)andtreatment (type, amount, duration, number of services) characteristics. Results: Most cross-country injuries occurred to the lower extremity and were musculotendinous or ligamentous in nature. The most common injury types were sprain/strain (43.8%), tendinopathy (18.5%), and general pain (9.5%). Injured body parts and diagnoses were typically similar between sexes. The most frequently used treatment was therapeutic exercises or activities (28.7%), and patients received an average of 7.4 ± 17.4 total athletic training services during 5.5 ± 15.1 episodes of care over 27.8 ± 87.5 days. Conclusions: Adolescent cross-country student-athletes frequently sustained non-time-loss injuries that required up to 1 month of treatment and management. These findings will generate awareness surrounding the role of athletic trainers in providing care for cross-country athletes.

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